Saturday, July 28, 2012

wedded bliss. . .

My husband and I recently celebrated eight years of marriage.  It's hard to believe, really.  When I look back at our wedding day, it's amazing how little we actually knew of each other. We were young, 23 and 25.  We had only been together for a total of 10 months.  Thinking about it now, it much have been a parent's worst nightmare!  For us though, we were fully committed to making it work.

Goodness, we even LOOK like kids.  Anyhow, 8 years later and we're still here!  I'm not sure how we've managed it, we've been through a lot of life things that would have probably caused a lot of problems for some couples. 

I think, for us, what really works is the manner in which we approached the relationship.  While there was all of the love and attraction that other people experience, we also went about it rather rationally.  Our relationship started with a 3 hour phone conversation where we talked about who we are, what we stand for, where we see our lives going in the future, etc.  We discussed issues from finances to how many kids we wanted to our favourite colours.  After that conversation, we pretty much got out of the way everything that you'd normally find out in the first month (or more) of dating.  After the conversation, we agreed that we wanted to see where things would go, and that if we started dating, we were both in for the long haul.  No wondering if the other person is on the same page, or ready for marriage, or any of the other uncertainties that others might have.  After four months of dating, we got engaged.  We both felt like when we got engaged, that was the moment that our forever committment started.  Waiting for the wedding was just a formality.  We both firmly believed that we were in it for the long term, and just hopping out of the relationship wasn't an option.

I'm a firm believer that because we didn't have an 'out' option, we were forced to work through everything and develop an understanding of each other.  We were forced to compromise together, and to figure out our lives together.

Just 4 years later, we were blessed with our first child, and just 14 months after that our second.  It's been an incredible and turbulant journey, but one I wouldn't want to take with anybody else. 

He's a wonderful husband, the best father, and an amazing person.  That whirlwind decision was the best I've ever made. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


So, this long break hasn't been a result of lack of time or any other excuse.  I've just flat out been avoiding writing. 

I had planned out two awesome blog posts, each with a father's day theme.  The first, I had planned  on honouring the memory of my own father, who passed away a little over 3 1/2 years ago.  The second, I had planned on writing about what an amazing father my husband is.  I ended up avoiding both, because I found father's day this year far too painful and the loss of my father far too much to deal with.  Some people deal with pain by talking/writing. . . I tend to avoid as long as I can before I talk/write.  So, in the near, or distant, future you may see these posts.  Until then. . .

Bed-Hogging Pre-Schoolers

After our first child was born, my husband and I had the amazing foresight (or maybe it was an evolutionary instinct, bred into parents to increase chances of survival) to upgrade our bed from a double bed to a queen.  At the time, we just needed a new mattress, and thought it was just as well to go ahead and get the queen now, rather than having to buy again in a couple of years.  We really had no idea. . .

It wasn't long, before we realized that kids love to sleep in their parents bed.  As soon as you take away the crib (and sometimes even before), which was early for us as we needed the crib for the new baby -- our oldest was about 16 months old, all bets are off.  Our kids both spent a lot of time in our bed, mostly because they were horrible sleepers and only really slept if they were in bed with us.  Don't judge, a parent does what they have to for survival.

Anyhow, what I'm trying to get across is the realization that these little people, usually able to fit into the smallest of places, manage to monopolize the space in the bed.  There have been many nights where one of our boys have crawled in bed with us, and by the time the night is over, both my husband and myself have ended up either on the couch, on the floor, in my son's bed, or some combination of the three.

The problem, is that they tend to practice their swimming moves in bed.  They get in there, want to crawl in the middle, and then complain if you touch them.  They then proceed to attempt to do a starfish move in the bed, which effectively gets rid of one parent.  At that point, it's almost as if they think "one down. . ." and move on with taking up the last 5 mm of bed that the leftover parent is clinging to for dear life.  In order to do this, they proceed to continue with the starfish move, but also attempt the backstroke, frontstroke, and whatever other kind of stroke there is.  I have often found my face being used as a pillow, feet up my rear end, arms across my eyes, etc. -- not one word of  a lie, I promise you. 

The worst, is when you are the parent that is left, and then the SECOND child decides that sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed would be ideal.  Then, not only do you have two children practicing starfish moves and using your face for a pillow, but they are also fighing each other for the space.  In this case, the parent almost certainly ends up on the floor.

Yes, this is quite the ordeal.  And the worst part is that it happens almost every. single. night.  What does this equal? TORTURE, that's what!  Whoever told you that the lack of sleep goes away after the baby gets through infantcy was a flat out, bold faced liar.  Don't believe anything they say.  The lack of sleep lasts FAR beyond the toddler stage, and definitely into the pre-school stages.  I'll keep you updated on future stages, just in case you are depending on my experiences before deciding on whether or not to have children.

What's the moral of the story?  A king sized bed really is probably the best way to go.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back to School. . .

And no, I'm not talking about my kids!  I finally applied to do my masters in Counselling Psychology, which has always been my goal, and got accepted!  I started my first courses the beginning of May.  One of the courses that I registered for was an intercession course, which was supposed to run from the beginning of May to the middle/end of June.  The other course is through distance, and runs the full term, from the beginning of May to August.

I was feeling very nervous attending my first class.  It had been so long since I'd been in school, and when you have small children your brain just doesn't work as well as it used to.  I wondered if I would be capable of it.  It didn't help when I got to class that I discovered that the course had actually be further condensed to run for the month of May, with us finishing everything up on the 28th.  I went into panic mode.  Needless to say, the month was crazy.  Monday and Tuesday evening and all day Saturday every week was spent in class.  I missed bedtime at least twice a week, and my poor husband had to navigate swimming lessons with the two boys by himself.  The evenings that I wasn't in class, I was out doing assessment for the course (the course was on assessment for counsellors, so I had to actually assess a child).  During the day, I had four children in the house (my own two, plus the two that I am baby-sitting), so I couldn't get work done during that time.  I say all of that to finally say, I survived it!  Not only did I survive it, but I survived it and pulled off a great mark in the course!  My professor was great, and his course and manner of teaching was a great way to ease myself back into study mode.  I'm so happy!

The second course, I'm not quite as enthused with.  I'm fairly certain that I will avoid online courses from this point on.  It is boring, and I really do not enjoy reading from the computer screen as much as I have to.  It's difficult being willing to 'put yourself out there' with your comments and participation when you've never met the people you are conversing with.  So, we'll see how that course goes!

Overall, I'm feeling good.  I'm feeling like I might have a future in my career choice afterall, and I'm feeling that I'm finally accomplishing my goals and doing something with the education I already have.  I'm happy that my children will get to experience seeing me study and going to school, seeing how important that is to me.  And I'm happy that I will finally get to be doing what I've wanted to do when I'm done the program.  Now, I just have to maintain that motivation and keep plugging through the rest of my program!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ahoy, Mateys!

Once again, it's been a while.  I started my Masters program a month ago, and it's been CRAZY.  As such, I'm only now getting around to blogging about my second birthday party, for my 3 year old.  This party was a Pirate Theme, and I felt MUCH more prepared for this one!  All of that being said, the morning of the party we got news that good friends of ours and their youngest son had been killed in a car crash, so we were really out of sorts the whole day.

Since my kids have been so into 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates', which comes on Disney Junior, that is the theme we went with for this birthday party.  My boys were already spending a lot of their time pretending that they are captain hook, Jake, and other characters from the show, so i figured that I'd add to the enjoyment for them!


I didn't get a good picture of the decorations.  We had a bunch of balloons in red, gold, and black (Jake's favourite colous), we had a treasure chest with lots of 'treasures' for prizes and take-home gifts, and we had brown and green 'vines' around the place, to try to give it a jungle/island type of feel.  It was understated, but totally did the job to make the party fun!

Here is the treasure chest:

My two pirates with their pirate gear (we had hats for all the kids) in front of their 'treasure':

My oldest choosing a treasure for himself:


So, I spent a while trying to come up with food, and I had LOTS of ideas!  However, this is what I came up with:

Hot Dog Schooners!  SUPER easy, and the kids loved it!  I also had some blue kool-aid, some gold fish, some cheesies, and some fish Candy.

Once again, I went to Glynnis Kennedy for the cake, and was NOT disappointed.  This time we ordered a double slab cake, half chocolate and half vanilla, since we were expecting more people.  This is what she came up with!

The cake was totally nut-free (thought we didn't have any allergies to worry about at the party, it's nice to know 'just in case' -- so many kids have nut allergies these days) and the coins are chocolate coins (which were REALLY good).  Once again, I was super pleased and will definitely be a return customer!

My Husband got in on the pirate action, and he's loving his Hot Dog Schooner!

I'm not sure if you could actually call this 'blowing' out the candle, it may be more like 'spitting' out the candle.  Either way, he was super proud of himself and really excited to be doing it!


So, I had a couple of games planned (of course) but the kids weren't super interested in playing, they just wanted to play 'pirates' together.  Either way, I managed to pull them together for a couple of the games.

The first game was 'Tic-Toc, Where's the Croc?'.  I hid an egg timer, and the kids had to listen to the ticking to find where it was hidden.  They loved it, it was kind of like hide-and-seek.  Of course, they only played for 3-5 minutes and then they were done. 

The second game was 'Walk the Plank'.  I put a blue tablecloth on the floor, with a plank of wood on it, and I blindfolded the kids and had them walk across.  It was a fun game!  Of course, it only lasted for a couple of minutes as well.  Here's a picture of my oldest 'Walking the Plank':

I had planned on doing a Scavenger hunt, but the kids were having so much fun playing, that I just left them alone.

It was a great party.  I have so many other ideas, I'm sure there will be another pirate themed party in the future!  Here's one last picture of my little man with his favourite birthday present:

So, that's the birthday recap!  Now, the next birthday is my husband's in October, so thankfully I've got a while to figure that one out.  There will be more blogs in the near future, as I have SO much that I haven't written yet!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy 'Smurfday'!!

So, last weekend (yes, it's taken me a week to get around to the blog) we had my son's 4th birthday party.  Since everything in my house is smurf-themed lately, the birthday party was obviously smurf themed as well.  Now, you would THINK that since the Smurf movie came out there would be lots of smurf-themed birthday supplies around.  No.  Nothing.  I looked into ordering from a birthday supplies company that I found on facebook, and it would have been like $80 for a few cups and a table centerpiece, and a couple of foil ballons.  So, I decided that I was gonna have to get creative. 

Now, I'm not a believer in big, extravagant birthday parties.  I'm all about themes, and I like decorations, but all my kids really care about is that their friends come to visit, and that they get birthday cake.  When I asked my son what he wanted for his birthday, all he asked for was a Papa Smurf birthday cake.  Even when we took him to toys 'r' us for a 'birthday shopping spree', he only chose a couple of gifts to bring home (one of which was just a small Lion King plush, and the other which was a Thomas train).  They really don't need much to make them happy!

The party had been planned for Saturday morning, but because of weather we had to postpone it to Sunday afternoon.  Because of the time change, there were some kids that couldnt' make it, so we only had 4 other kids there.  That being said, it was enough.


Since smurfs are all over the blue, I had blue and white balloons, blue plates, white table cloth (I didn't get a chance to get a decent picture because I find it so hectic when I'm trying to get everything organized, and because we need a camera-- my phone just doesn't cut it for pictures).  I also painted some smurfs on brown packaging paper and cut them out to put on the wall.  I wish I had pictures of those, because they were awesome, but alas, my unfortunate lack of camera. . . I did 5 of them, they were about the same size as the little smurf plush toys you can get, and when the party was over we put them up in my son's bedroom.  If I'd had more time (which I didn't, because the weather was so horrible), I would have had homemade trees on the wall, with the leaves coming out on the ceiling, etc.  But, it wasn't necessary, my kids both loved the little smurfs and the balloons.


So, again, blue is the theme.  I had some blue candy, I had yogurt and "smurfberries" (just some mixed berries), and birthday cake.  I had originally planned to have 'smurfberry' pancakes and to make smurf-house cupcakes, but because of the timechange, it just didn't fit the same. 

The cake was made by Glynnis Kennedy --- Kennedy cakes.  It was seriously one of the most delicious cakes I've ever had. . . I also just told her that we wanted something Papa Smurf, and she came up with this.  I was so impressed.  I would definitely recommend her!


So, since my boy was turning 4, I chose some games that 4 years olds could have fun with.  I figured that we could play freeze dance, smurf tag, etc.  Once we got to the party, however, they weren't interested, haha.  My boys and their friends had decided that they would just prefer to use their imaginations and pretend that they were smurfs and play on their own.  In my opinion, more power to them!  My kids really love to play pretend, and they rarely get to do that with a friend here.  I just let them go nuts.

Party Favours

So, I didn't go with the traditional loot bag for this party.  I had considered it, and then decided I wasn't interested in spending money on garbage.  Instead, I decided to make smurf hats.  The birthday  boy wanted a red one so he could be papa smurf, and I made white ones for the rest of the kids.  I bought some felt and an old pillow, got out my sewing machine (which I had never used up to this point, so I had to spend an hour looking up how to use it), and went to town designing and making smurf hats.  I used the batting from the pillow to stuff the tips, and they turned out great.  Each kid got to take home a smurf hat, and I had 2 smurf charms each for them (that I had ordered from somebody that I had found on facebook). 

Kids eating their yogurt and wearing their smurf hats.

My kids have been sleeping, playing, eating, and just plain living in those smurf hats since I made them.  They were well worth it!

Overall, the party was a success in the eyes of my kids.  For me?  I always look back and think of how I could have made things better and do things differently. . . so I'm not completely satisfied.  I can't help but imagine a perfect world where I have unlimited resources and time.  Unrealistic?  I do realize that, but I guess that's just who I am.  My mind is already reeling trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the next birthday party, coming up in April. . . 

Friday, January 27, 2012


So, I am experiencing a dilemma of sorts in my life.  I love working, and more specifically I love teaching.  The problem, however, is that the province in which I live is glutted with teachers and there are no jobs for people like me, who are not able to just up and move to the remote communities to 'get my foot in the door'.  So, I am here, with a 3 (almost 4) year old and a 2 1/2 year old, trying to figure out what to do with myself.

There are lots of things that I enjoy to do, lots of jobs that I could probably work at and enjoy.  The problem, is that there are a number of problems with me doing this.  Number one, I don't want to just 'work a job', I want a career.  Something I can build and work on, some field in which I can gain experience and expertise that will move me forward and better my abilities.  For me, with my training, that would be the education field.  I am, however, hoping to do a masters program in counselling psychology.  This would give me a leg up in the education system in our province, but would also leave a number of doors outside of the education system wide open for me.  It does, however, take time to complete this.  Not to mention actually getting into the program.

The second problem is childcare.  This is something I often complain about, and I'm sure you'll read about in the future.  Childcare for me would cost at least 300-400 dollars A WEEK.  That means 600-800 dollars bi-weekly.  In order to justify me leaving the house and paying childcare in order to work, I would have to take home (after taxes and whatnot) at least 1500 dollars bi-weekly.  I cannot justify putting my children in childcare and going outside of the house to work unless I'm actually making some money after it's all said and done.  Finding a job that pays that much is not just improbably, but nearly impossible.  That being said, right now I am able to receive employment insurance benefits, because we moved for my husbands job and my contract in my previous position was up.  When that is out, I have to figure something out.  We just can't survive on one income these days. 

So, what are my options?  Obviously I can't just stay home and take care of my kids until they hit school-age.  Though, it's pointless for me to go out and get a "job" as well, since I won't be making enough money to justify it.  I can go back to school, but that's going to take a while to finish and I need to make some money while I'm doing that.  We can't really move for a job, because my husband just started this really great job that he loves and that can be really beneficial for us.  So what does that leave me with?

I guess I can take kids into my home and provide childcare for other children, as well as my own.  Even then, with my two, if I take two more children, I'm still only making about 600 every two weeks, plus having to spend extra on groceries for snacks and lunches.  It's not a huge amount of money, but it is a help.  It is an option.

I would love to be able to start up my own sort of stay-at-home business, but I really don't have any ideas for one.  Cake decorators are a dime a dozen (and I'm not sure I'd be able to do that well), there are photographers everywhere you turn these days (and I'm not sure I'd really enjoy that).  I'd love to make things to sell, or to plan things like birthday parties and baby showers, but I'm not sure how much demand there really is for that around here.  I just don't know what my options are for this.  I guess, as well, I'm not really sure what my abilities and skills are, or if I even have anything to offer anybody. 

I tend to think that I'm not alone in these problems.  I can't imagine that there are many people that can afford childcare at the prices that are being charged.  And I can't imagine that these people find it any easier to live on one income than we do.  It's nearly impossible to have children and to financially survive these days, unless you have two solid incomes coming in, and perhaps some family around to fill childcare gaps. 

I'm sure we'll figure everything out, and maybe I'll come up with something to do at home.  For now, though, I'm at a crossroads.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Potty Training, take 2

Ok, so I'm the worst blogger in the history of bloggers.  I do realize that I will never have followers when writing like this.  In my defense, it's really hard to find time to sit, think, and put together sentences that make me sound like I have a working brain.  That being said, I think it just might help me to feel a little productive in the run of a week, though I'm not quite sure why.

So, the last time I checked in we were in the process of potty training child number 1.  I am happy to say that child number 1 is not fully potty trained, and even goes through the night without accidents.  I know, you would hope that he would be after this long.  He's great at using the potty, and is even beginning to wipe his own bum.  That's the good news.  The bad news, is that we still have to go through this again, with another (more stubborn) child.  We started with child number 2 before Christmas, probably about 2 months ago now.  He was definitely ready, and started asking to use the potty.  The child has since decided, however, that using the potty is too much work and that it's really rather funny to pee and poop on the floor.  Two months later, and we are still trying to get him to use the potty properly.

Now, I know that some of you are thinking, "Just keep at it, he'll get the hang of it eventually", and others are thinking, "He's just obviously not ready yet, give it a couple of months".  My problem is that I am torn between the two viewpoints.  The stubborn part of me refuses to give up, and the rational part of me just thinks that in a few months he might be ready.  The thing is, I'm very ready to stop wasting my money on pull-ups and diapers and whatnot.  I'm very ready to be free of all of it. 

On top of that, we have taken the bedtime bottle away from child #2.  This is another horrific experience as a parent.  The child has a complete meltdown every night before bed.  We had to take it away, because he was waking up several times throughout the night for a refill of the bottle.  Plus, he's almost 3 years old, and is MORE than old enough to be giving it up.  I think in order to understand how dramatic the reaction is, I think you'd have to know the child and see how stubborn and strong-willed he is.  It's 30-45 minutes of pure torture at bedtime.  On the bright side, when he FINALLY goes to sleep, he sleeps so much better than before!  So, totally worth it. 

On the happy side of parenting, my oldest child turns 4 in a week!  So, I'm planning a smurftastic birthday party for him!  I had looked at ordering all of the supplies, but then decided to make it all myself.  I'll take some pictures and blog about the party when it's done (I know, you're thinking 'yeah, right').

I feel like I have a whole lot of blogs brewing in my head, so there are a number of topics you can look forward to me writing about.  These include:  smurfy birthday party ideas;  childcare;  and several about being a stay-at-home-mom.  These have been brewing for a while, so you can expect some pretty opinionated stuff in these blogs.